I Accept Rep. Randy Forbes's Challenge for Someone to Debate Him
Chris Rodda printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Jul 19, 2009 at 06:19:10 PM EST
During a July 1 radio appearance on The Jody Hice Show, Rep. Randy Forbes, promoting H. Res. 397, his resolution for a "spiritual heritage week," issued the following challenge:

"I challenge the president or anyone else -- come up, either debate me on this issue or simply tell me where that single moment in time was when you can say we crossed the threshold -- we ceased being a Judeo-Christian nation -- and you can't do it."

Well, as an "anyone else," I hereby accept Mr. Forbes's challenge. I want to publicly debate him on his resolution.

If Mr. Forbes is as confident in the historical accuracy of his resolution as he appears to be in his media appearances and recent "Judeo-Christian nation" floor speech (the YouTube video of which has gone "viral," now approaching 2.5 million hits), he should be eager to debate someone like me, right?

Mr. Forbes has incessantly touted his footnoting and documentation of all the claims found in the 75 "Whereas" clauses of his resolution, making numerous statements like the following one from his Jodi Hice Show appearance, so he should have no worries at all about defending those claims, right?

"This...is the most documented resolution, I think, that's been filed in Congress in years because we footnote every single thing that we've put in there, and you can read this resolution and it's like reading a history of faith in America. So, we hope to get that dialogue and that debate started again..."

Mr. Forbes, by his own words, has drawn a line in the sand:

"The spiritual heritage bill basically just draws a line in the sand and says wait a minute, we've got a rich history of faith in this country. We shouldn't be obscuring it. We shouldn't be running away from it. We should be talking about it."

Well, someone needs to cross that line in the sand, and it's going to be me.

So, Mr. Forbes, just name the time and place -- your turf, my turf (up here in NJ-6), DC, or anywhere else -- and let's debate your resolution clause by clause and see how well that very impressive looking list of footnotes you keep boasting about stands up to scrutiny.

I'll be sending a registered, return receipt letter to Mr. Forbes's office formally accepting his challenge to make sure he knows that I, as an "anyone else," have stepped up to accept it.

For those who are unfamiliar with Mr. Forbes's "spiritual heritage" resolution, it's a re-introduction of H. Res. 888, the "religious heritage" resolution he introduced in the last congress. In a series of pieces last year, I debunked the dozens of instances of historical fiction in that resolution, and thanks to the efforts of a few organizations and a whole bunch of bloggers who joined in the fight, H. Res. 888 never made it to the floor. But, a few months ago, outraged over President Obama's statement in Turkey that America is not a Christian nation, Mr. Forbes reintroduced the same resolution as H. Res. 397. It currently has 74 co-sponsors.

I recently re-posted my debunking of H. Res. 888, as soon as I saw that Mr. Forbes had re-introduced it as H. Res. 397, so, if anyone wants more details about the resolution, or to see why I'm thrilled that he has issued a challenge for someone to debate him on it, you can find it here.

I hope he acknowledges your acceptance of his challenge and goes through with it.  I wouldn't hold my breath, of course.  His challenge is probably just bluster meant to impress his amen crowd.  But if you do get to debate, it will be comforting knowing the facts are on your side.  I'm guessing he will have to resort to preaching:  "Well, America ought to be a Christian nation! It just oughta be!"   And he will no doubt question your patriotism for denying the truth of Christian nationalist history during this time of war.

Looking forward to the results.  Thank you, and keep us updated.

by brother maynard on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 12:35:35 AM EST

I'll be watching... and pulling for you.

by deatons on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 01:07:40 AM EST

by stcrispian on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 08:37:03 PM EST

Rep. Forbes would be insane to actually debate Ms. Rodda on this stinking pile of lies and cherry-picked quotes. Unless he's so breath-takingly stupid that he believes every word in it, in which case he can go ahead and give his heart to Jesus, 'cause his ass will belong to Chris!

by trog69 on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 01:11:10 AM EST


I hope that in addition to sending your letter to Representative Forbes that you put together a press release to DC and national media.

You are right these guys bluster things never expecting to be challenged on them but he needs to be backed into a corner and having the national media after him should make him put up or shut up.

by JerrySloan on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 03:48:40 AM EST

or college sweetens the pot by offering a platform for the debate.

by Frederick Clarkson on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 03:18:07 PM EST

" tell me where that single moment in time was when you can say we crossed the threshold -- we ceased being a Judeo-Christian nation", well it's sort of a toss up. Was it when the first evangelical opened their mouth to speak about anything to do with God, Christ and/or the Bible. That is the day scholarship declined and myth began. Was it the lightbulb that went off in someone's head that said "I can use this to manipulate people and get rich". Or the latest "trick" is to make "church" a rock and roll show, a sexual, sensual experience, a light show and pure entertainment. Now, this is difficult, because Christ was dealt a terrible blow when Rick Warren put pen to paper. So what do you think? Was it the first day an evangelical spoke, the moment it was first used to manipulate, the day it became Rick Warren's ego or the day it became entertainment. There is a church where I live that will be showing "Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona, next Sunday. Hmmm.. truly CEASED.... gotta go with Rick Warren, the greatest illusionist who ever lived... or maybe he was the beginning of the end and Vicki, Cristina, Barcelona will fully complete the circle. Zero. Good news, there are still plenty of Christians and intellectual pastors...

by stcrispian on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 08:34:28 PM EST

If a revisionist like Forbes can distort the truth by misappropriating quotations and fabricating them wholecloth, surely it will be a matter of no conscience to claim "nobody answered the challenge". Without an aggressive response such as was mounted last year, no one of real consequence (such as a member of Congress) would know he was lying about that too.

by Panglos on Sun Jul 26, 2009 at 02:48:54 AM EST
But, issuing the challenge is a starting point.

by Bruce Wilson on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 07:16:36 PM EST

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